BEST PRACTICES IN BILLING #2
When a potential client comes to you it is usually because s/he has a problem that s/he needs you to help solve. If you have a solution to the problem in that moment, your solution has value to the potential client. A perfect opportunity to talk about money with a potential client is the moment value and need come together.
For example, the typical criminal defense lawyer gets paid up front before the case gets going. Gunfighers of the Old West were not hired and paid by the bullet--the criminal defense lawyer is not hired for a little defense. People hire lawyers to reach and or achieve a desired outcome. When need and value match, the criminal defense lawyer is all in and the flat fee paid upfront covers a trial, plea or any other resolution which the lawyer is instrumental in bringing about.
On the other hand, matching value and need for an estate planning lawyer with a 30-something single client is a whole other dynamic. The client thinks s/he is immortal and does not really have a problem in need of a professional solution. Here, matching value with need is more of a process to educate about need. You will find that some prospective clients simply don’t know they have a problem in the making.
It is imperative that you understand your ideal client’s problem recognition process in order to match value and need. Find out when and why did the process start, what did s/he do to inform her/himself and how did s/he eventually find you? If you are not well versed in the process of your client in recognizing the problem that s/he will ultimately bring to you for solution, then start asking and listening.
Next Up: Manifesting value
Catch Up: Best Practices in Billing #1
The Practice Management Advisory Service is a multifaceted Bar program designed to help Bar members improve and enhance management skills in the practice of law. Daniel Mills, assistant director for, PMAS, Regulation Counsel, and Rochelle Washington, senior staff attorney, PMAS. can be reached at 202-737-4700, ext. 3212 and 3217, respectively, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.